Even though our focus (at least for now) is on Windows antivirus software and malware removal, we've had a few people contact us asking about the malware known as Mac Defender1 (previously discussed in our blog on Mac antivirus software).
Here's the short version: it does not automatically install itself onto your Mac. It does require you to manually install it to be infected. And, the main way it's getting installed is when people are tricked into installing it.
How do you get rid of it?
Well, apparently, even though it's not that hard, you can't turn to Apple Support for help, as according to ZDNet there's No Help from Apple Support Reps Removing Mac Defender, although there is now an official Apple help article on Removing Mac Defender.
Although we've not tested the removal steps ourselves, given that the removal instructions come from Apple itself, you can be sure they work and are legit.
And, yes, all the top Mac antivirus software is already detecting and removing the malware.
MacDefender is known alternately as MacSecurity or MacProtector
Oooh, the debate there is around this topic.
I'm of the opinion that the time has come for those of us who run Macs--or those of us that run both Mac and Windows--to pull our collective head out of the sand and start looking at Mac antivirus software.
In case you've not heard about it, the latest Mac malware (this one is a trojan) is known already by three different names:
- Mac Defender
- Mac Protector
- Mac Security
No matter its moniker, it's 100% bull.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, writing for ZDNet talks about both the Mac Defender trojan and the state of denial that most Mac users are in about Apple antivirus software, viruses and malware in his great piece at ZDNet.
Sure, there's the problem of actual viruses that sneak their way uninvited onto your system. This has long been one of the problems Windows users have suffered and those in the Mac camp have been largely unaffected by.
He hits it out of the park in describing exactly what the other problem is. (And this is why Mac antivirus software is a good idea.)
The threats posed by the bad guys are also different. Very different.
"Rather than rely on viruses which spread by using system vulnerabilities, the bad guys have turned to the Trojan.
"This is malware disguised as something desirable - a game, a software utility, a porn video - and it relies on the user choosing to install it onto their system.
"It’s hard to protect against this kind of stuff because the user chooses to override the operating system’s desire to be cautious when it comes to installing stuff.
"Getting people to install their own malware has been a popular trick used against Windows users for some time now, and there’s no reason to think that the same trick wouldn’t work against the modern Mac users, especially given how many of them were Windows users not long ago.
What it boils down to is social engineering more than software engineering. Why bother to try to trick the computer into doing something it shouldn't when it's much easier to trick the person into doing something he or she shouldn't?
Think no on is that naive? How come so many folks fall for the Nigeria 419 scams and wire their hard earned money of to Nigeria and other lands far and wide?
What are we doing about it? We've begun taking our expertise in testing antivirus software for Windows and putting it to work on the Mac.
So, if you're a Mac owner (or have family members, friends, etc who are), keep an eye on our blog, follow us on Twitter (@pcantivirus), or Like us on Facebook. We've got a lot in store right around the corner.